vernonfelton

I'm bald. I've been riding since 1986 and writing about it professionally since 1997. I was Editor in Chief of Bike Magazine, as well as Gear Editor, Web Editor, Senior Editor and Editor at Large. I like pork.

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vernonfelton vernonfelton's article
May 29, 2017 at 19:44
6 hours
Pivot Switchblade – Review
@spunkmtb: While it's true i've worked in a bike shop and might have a different perspective than you about the ease/difficulty of a particular procedure, I don't think adding or removing a headset cup is, in fact, a technically challenging process. The biggest hurdle is, to be sure, buying a headset press. Investing in bike tools, however, is one of those things we all have to do at some point or another. Brakes need bleeding, spokes loosen up and need tightening, bottom brackets need to be removed and/or installed. C'est la vie. For the record, I generally remove headset cups with nothing more than a flat-blade screwdriver and a mallet. Moreover, what I am describing in the review is that Pivot gives you the option to run either wheel size (29er or 27.5+) and that you can essentially maintain equivalent geo and reduce pedal strikes by adding the tall cup, should you, in fact, opt to go from 29er wheels and tires to 27.5x2.8 or 3.0. The bike, however, doesn't demand that you make the swap at all. You can run either wheel size and be just fine. Again, it's an option--an option that not every bike out there gives you. This is fundamentally different than a drawback. While some companies, admittedly, don't require that you install a different headset lower cup in order to go back and forth between these two wheel sizes, you'll then generally wind up having to fiddle with the shock mount. Not that doing so is a drawback, per se, either: it's just an acknowledgement that putting 27.5x2.8 tires on a 29er (if the bike design does, in fact, allow for it) leads to different geometry (most notably a lower BB that will likely have you smacking pedals). In short, every bike that gives you the opportunity to run both 29 and 27-plus tires and wheels WILL require that you fiddle with something to maintain proper geometry. That's just reality. The drawback, really, would be if you didn't have the option to make the swap in the first place. In short, bikes like the Hightower and the Switchblade are giving people more choice by not restricting the bike owner to a single wheel size. I don't see how that can be construed as a drawback. As for not being a huge fan of how XT brakes work, I'm taking pains in the review to note that lots of people love the way they feel at the lever and that I simply am not one of them. A biased review would simply state that they were "bad" or that they "sucked". Instead, I've explained what I find lacking and noted where the brakes do, in fact, shine (reliability).
vernonfelton vernonfelton's article
May 19, 2017 at 22:19
May 19, 2017
Recon Gen-2 R5 Shuttle Rack – Review
@2bigwheels, are you kidding? Hell no. It rolls on a car chassis, but I run it like a truck. For as long as it will last....
vernonfelton vernonfelton's article
May 12, 2017 at 16:02
May 12, 2017
Brilliant or Bullshit? – Pinkbike Poll
@leelau: I have no friggin' idea how you guys survived that era on those bikes and products!
vernonfelton vernonfelton's article
May 12, 2017 at 14:05
May 12, 2017
Brilliant or Bullshit? – Pinkbike Poll
@CSharp, I can't believe it either and I wrote the sumbitch. Yeah, I meant to put it in there. To everyone who is stating that disc brakes should have been in the poll, I hear you. Cheers.
vernonfelton vernonfelton's article
May 12, 2017 at 14:03
May 12, 2017
Brilliant or Bullshit? – Pinkbike Poll
@iammarkstewart: Just a brain fart on my part. Yep, disc brakes shoulda been on there. Agreed.
vernonfelton mikelevy's article
May 4, 2017 at 16:46
May 4, 2017
Shimano XT Di2 - Double Header Review
@allballz: True. I am trying to remember the number of recharges Shimano said you could get out of the battery. I do remember it amounting to not needing to replace the battery for several years, given the run time you get out of a single charge. The battery isn't cheap, but the battery life is really pretty amazing. Of course, if we get to a point where we are universally running a ton of other products off that battery (dropper posts, suspension, etc.) you can expect more frequent charging and battery replacement.
vernonfelton mikelevy's article
May 4, 2017 at 9:50
May 4, 2017
Shimano XT Di2 - Double Header Review
@needsmoarride312: Thanks for that. If I was wedded to the idea of using a front derailleur, I would opt for this group in a heartbeat. It's truly the best execution of a 2x drivetrain that I've used. That said, even though chain drops became an occasional occurrence following the initial adjustment period, occasional chain drops are still too frequent for me. I simply prefer 1x, but that's my own particular bias. To each their own. If people dig front derailleurs, they should try this thing out in Synchro mode. I can't even do the shifting performance justice in words. It works that well. As for on-the-trail rear derailleur adjustments... Should you knock things out of alignment, you can push the Mode button on the visual display, enter Maintenance Mode and tweak the rear derailleur shifting so that you are getting more accurate shifts again. It's actually kind of, well, rad. Shimano did solid work on this group and that includes allowing for troubleshooting of those real world problems. I gotta give them credit where credit's due.
vernonfelton mikelevy's article
May 4, 2017 at 8:45
May 4, 2017
Shimano XT Di2 - Double Header Review
It wasn't that great of a difference between 1x and 2x. The front derailleur does use more juice in Synchro mode, but it's not a power hog, by any stretch of the imagination. I still has a bar and change left on the visual display and could have eked more time out of it. I just felt like charging it before it got too low. The big takeaway is that battery life is nothing shy of amazing. You can run the hell out of Di2...for months...without recharging. Shimano did their homework on that, for sure.
vernonfelton mikelevy's article
May 4, 2017 at 8:38
May 4, 2017
Shimano XT Di2 - Double Header Review
The dropped chains do not occur during shifts. They occur during fast, technical descents. Ramped chainrings are designed, by their very nature, to facilitate the derailment of chains (from one ring to the next). Chain retention is better on a single ring that is designed to hold onto chains; it's why a lot of us can get by running 1x systems without chain guides and still experience fewer dropped chains on descents than when running 2x systems. The same is the case here. This is not an anti-Shimano commercial. Nor is it a pro-Shimano commercial. This is an objective measuring of the pros and cons of this iteration of XT Di2, which is why I think readers will find both praise and criticism in it. There are a lot of amazing aspects to this group and it does have its strengths, which we've taken pains to point out. Ultimately, there's little black and white in life....lots of gray. Same holds true for a lot of products. We're exploring that here. We could just give this a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" sort of verdict, but that would be dumbing down our review and that's not something we're interested in doing. Cheers.
vernonfelton pinkbikeaudience's article
Apr 26, 2017 at 14:15
Apr 26, 2017
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